COURTESY OF THE CWE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT
The streets of the Central West End will transform into the CWE Streatery this weekend.
The streets of the Central West End will transform into an outdoor dining oasis this Friday and Saturday night thanks to the CWE Streatery, an al fresco dining program that is turning three intersections into patio seating for the neighborhood's restaurants.
This is the second year for the Streatery, which first launched as a way to help restaurants earn money as they struggled with shuttered dining rooms, reduced indoor capacity and a dining public uneasy about eating indoors during a pandemic. Though things have eased up a bit since last year, the CWE Business Improvement District and the neighborhood's restaurants still felt that there was a need for the program — and robust demand, too.
"Last year, this obviously came from a need to do what we could to help businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood so that they could have an opportunity to make it through this pandemic," says Kate Haher, executive director of the CWE Business Improvement District. "This year, we're still in this. Things are improving and vaccines are out, but we still have guidelines and regulations, and many people are still concerned about eating inside."
The only offering of its kind in St. Louis, the Streatery will shut down sections of Euclid Avenue surrounding the McPherson Avenue intersection and the Washington Avenue intersection to vehicle traffic on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m., beginning this weekend and running every weekend thereafter as long as weather permits. Participating restaurants will have tables set up in designated areas so that guests will have the option of dining on their expanded outdoor patios in the Streatery. Guests who would like to reserve a Streatery table can do so by making a reservation through each individual restaurant.
According to Haher, the restaurants and Business Improvement District decided to bring the Streatery back for a second year because of how well it worked last year, both logistically and from a revenue standpoint for the struggling restaurants. However, all involved have also seen the added benefit of providing a service to a dining public that simply enjoys eating outdoors.
"People love sitting outside," says Haher. "This gives people the opportunity to do that while also bringing this great vitality to the neighborhood. There was just this great energy on Friday and Saturday nights. The community coming out felt so right."
Participating restaurants include many neighborhood favorites, including Brennan's, Cocina Latina, Drunken Fish, El Burro Loco, Evangeline's, Mission Taco Joint, Pi Pizzeria, Ranoush, Salt + Smoke and Up-Down STL.
As for the future of the Streatery beyond the pandemic, Haher is not ruling anything out.
"There's no long-term plan," Haher says. "At this point, we are responding to the need and the desire. However, we've heard from the community that we should do this all the time and never take it away, so we will see. We just want to be flexible with this program and do what makes sense. Time will tell.
For more information on the CWE Streatery, visit www.cwescene/alfrescodining
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